Players and scholars alike have characterized videogames as fantasies about unlimited power. In this talk I explore how some videogames have rejected the core mechanic of “leveling up”—in which the player’s character grows increasingly more powerful—and have instead emphasized the vulnerability of the game’s protagonist. Such games test the limits of playing the powerless and the doomed in videogames, allowing us to explore the outer edges of our empathy and our imagination.
Digital Humanities Seminar, University of Kansas—Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities & Hall Center for the Humanities, November 6, 2012: http://idrh.ku.edu
Mark Sample is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at George Mason University, where is he also an affiliated faculty member with GMU’s undergraduate Honors College, its Cultural Studies doctoral program, and the Center for History and New Media.